Richards sets pace in Targa West
- 7th September 2007, 2:03pm
Tarmac legend Jim Richards posted the fastest time of the 79 car field in his 2007 Porsche GT3, just ahead of Tony Quinn (Porsche 997 Turbo) and Tony Longhurst (Skelta G-Force) who were tied in equal second at the end of the second run around the 3.47 kilometre course.
The day got off to an eventful start with Challenge Classic competitor Robert Buys rolling his Proton Satria GTi at the end of the first straight. While the car suffered a collapsed roof, broken windscreen and some cosmetic damage, both driver and co-driver walked away from the incident unharmed.
QUIT Targa West is broken up into four separate categories run under one banner, with teams competing in either the Competition or Challenge categories, which are further broken down into Modern and Classic (pre-1982) classes.
Competition cars are set up as competitive rally cars, under similar guidelines to those used in the NEC Australian Rally Championship. Each car is equipped with a roll cage and full safety features and competes at full speed throughout the tarmac circuit.
Kevin Weeks, who has made the shift from Competition Modern to Competition Classic in 2007, took the starting honours competing in his Porsche 911, followed by Ian Wilson (Triumph TR7) and Michael Minshall (Porsche 911).
Challenge cars are standard road cars, which run without a roll cage and are speed restricted to a maximum of 130kms per hour, monitored by a GPS tracking system.
The Challenge Modern class was closely contested with the top three cars being separated by only 12 seconds at the end of the afternoon. Brad Kidd posted the fastest time in a Porsche 911, closely followed by Peter Best (Lotus Elise) and John Donohoe (Holden HSV).
If the prologue is any indication of the competition across the weekend the Challenge Classic class will be fought out between Anthony Clarke, who is racing in a Holden Torana GTR in memory of Peter Brock, Martin Eyer (Triumph TR8) and Luca Giorgella (Jaguar Mk1).
QUIT Targa West Event Organiser, Chris Wilson, is enthusiastic about the level of competition that will be provided by the strong field across the weekend.
“The field put on a great show this afternoon. The times are fast and have given every indication that it is going to be a great rally,” said Wilson.
Defending QUIT Targa West champion Ross Dunkerton was unable to post a competitive time after his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX suffered mechanical difficulties. The pace shown by Richards and Longhurst has ensured Dunkerton will have a fight on his hands to take the event hat-trick.
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